MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s opposition has postponed an anti-government protest scheduled to take place on Saturday March 6 in the capital Mogadishu after fears of crackdown mounted.
The government deployed hundreds of heavily armed troops to Daljirka Dahson – the site of the opposition protest – and roads leading to the square, in what opposition figures say was an attempt to delay the peaceful demonstration.
Earlier, the opposition and the federal government agreed that the protest will be held on Saturday under the security protection of federal troops but the deployment of forces with armored vehicles a day before the protest dashed hopes of the opposition and its supporters.
Leader of main opposition alliance Sharif Sheikh Ahmed briefing press in Mogadishu on Saturday afternoon said the rally was postponed due to security issues and the spread of COVID-19.
Opposition leaders also accused the government of reneging on a recent agreement that it would guarantee security of protests, saying that the anti-government march will soon be held with forces loyal to the opposition in charge of security at the demonstration site.
Somali Security Minister Hassan Hundubey welcomed the move, saying his government wanted the march to be delayed due to a COVID-19 spike the country has seen in recent weeks.
The minister also warned against possible deployment of opposition forces to the streets in an effort to guarantee security of protesters, arguing that only his government is responsible for playing such a role.
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